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Spanish train crash death toll mounts. Dublin cleans up after overnight rain.

Conor Pope Thu, Jul 25
 
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  • 08:35
    Grim news coming out of Spain this morning. The death toll following the train crash outside Santiago de Compostela has reached 77 while 131 people have been injured.
  • 08:36
    Flooding in Dublin has caused chaos. A bit of Clery's roof caved in following overnight rain while something similar happened at the Mater Hospital. No-one has been hurt though.
  • 08:37
    Good morning. I am Conor Pope and I will be looking after the news blog until 5pm.
  • 08:51
    Facebook has announced profits of $1.813 billion for the second quarter of the year. That’s $231 a second. Every second.
  • 09:00
    A truck crashed into a Luas on Harcourt St just before 8.30am and the service has been severely disrupted as a result .
  • 09:07
  • 09:07
  • 09:17
    A treadmill desk? Amazing.
  • 09:17
    Noel Pope Basketball hammer earl of sandwich
  • 09:19
    "Harcourt Street has now reopened to vehicular traffic"

    Vehicular traffic?

    That's the Garda Press Office for ya!

  • 09:20

    And thanks to Noel Pope for that most peculiar message. No, we have no idea what it means either. 

  • 09:21
  • 09:27
    Minister of State John Perry is under more pressure today after court documents suggested he received loans from Bank of Ireland to pay off tax arrears.

    Commercial Court exhibits include minutes of a January 2012 meeting with Danske Bank, which has secured a judgment for €2.47 million against him and his wife Marie, outlining details of a 10-year loan deal with Bank of Ireland for tax arrears of some €100,000.

    “The reference to tax arrears on the part of Minister Perry in the minutes of the meeting is highly significant and raises an issue that the Minister must immediately clarify,” said Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath.

    Sinn Féin said: “If it transpires that any of his businesses, small or otherwise, are in arrears, then his position is becoming increasingly untenable.”

  • 09:30
  • 09:34
    Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the most creative of them all? Una Mullally has some ideas. And is looking for yours.
  • 09:37
    Do you have a house in Dublin? Would you like to live in Leenane for a year? You would? Read this. 
  • 09:47
    Love/Hate was broadcast on Channel 5 in the UK last night. What did viewers make of it? This might give you an idea.
  • 10:00
  • 10:09
    By the end of 2013 there will be 3.5 million Syrian refugees and  1.9 million other people in the region who will need help as a result of Syria's crisis. 
  • 10:10
  • 10:10
  • 10:28
  • 10:36
    The clever people at Google have come up with a new wheeze which could change the way you watch the telly for ever.  Its Chromecast is  a two-inch gadget resembling a memory stick, will plug into the television’s HDMI input port to act as a receiver for content and will also enable users use their smartphones as television remote controls.

  • 10:45
    There is no indication at this stage that any Irish citizens were involved in the train crash that killed 77 people in Spain, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said this morning. He has expressed his deepest sympathies to the families of those killed and to those who were injured in the derailment near Santiago de Compostela last night.

    “My thoughts are with those who have lost family and loved ones in this tragic accident. The Galician region and the city of Santiago is a popular destination for Irish travellers and the Irish Embassy in Madrid has been in contact with the regional authorities since the accident occured. While at this stage, there is no indication of any Irish involvement, the situation is still developing and it will be some time before all of those involved have been identified,” he said. 
  • 10:48
    He may have been dropped for the final Lions game against Australia but Brian O'Driscoll's business is doing quite well so it is.
  • 10:57
  • 11:08
  • 11:12
    Things I did not know no. 54,631. Samuel Beckett used to drive Andre the Giant to school. And they talked almost exclusively about cricket. 

  • 11:25
    More than 800,000 people watched Love/Hate in the UK last night.
  • 11:27
  • 11:33
  • 11:44

    Ah here.

    Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, is investigating how 18 families were wrongly told their children may have been contaminated by a medical instrument.

    The hospital has  apologised to the families and said seven separate patients were now being contacted about the colonoscope contamination.

    The head of the HSE has said the incident was a “catastrophic failure”. Addressing the Oireachtas committee on health this morning, Tony O’Brien said “No amount of spinning by public relations companies can mask the seriousness of the issue”.

    Dr Colm Costigan, clinical director of the three Dublin paediatric hospitals, said the mix up involved two coloscopes—medical instruments used in bowel examinations—that failed hospital tests on July 6th.

    One of the two scopes was contaminated with ESPL. ESPL or extended spectrum beta lactamases are bugs that live in the bowel. They are produced by bacteria to combat antibiotics. They break down the commoner antibiotics and can make infections more difficult to treat.

    The contamination was incorrectly attributed to the second scope, leading the hospital to believe 18 children treated with it may have become infected.

    Dr Costigan said he contacted the 18 families yesterday to explain the situation to them. He also told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that he had gotten in touch with six of the seven new families and was still trying to reach the remaining family.

    He apologised for the mix-up, adding “we have to have a proper look back to see the proper reasons for that mistake. There’s a formal investigation going to take place with the National Incident Management Policy with the hospital and the HSE.

  • 11:55
    "Given Ireland’s notoriously weak laws on white-collar crime, it was probably inevitable that the Director of Public Prosecutions would withdraw corruption charges against five defendants, including a serving councillor and three former councillors, when the chief witness against them proved unable to continue giving his evidence.

    With no other former councillors facing charges for taking payments from developers to have land zoned in the early 1990s, the upshot is that only Frank Dunlop himself – the “bagman” for many of these disreputable transactions – has served a prison sentence. Those who took bribes, as the Mahon tribunal found, have not.

    For anyone who saw what was going on in Dublin County Council’s makeshift council chamber on Upper O’Connell Street – as I did – the outcome confirms the culture of impunity. The building is now gone, but we are still living with the consequences of decisions made at the behest of developers." Frank McDonald... 
  • 12:14
    El Pais is reporting that the Spanish government included a paragraph about an earthquake in the  Chinese province of Gansu in its  statement of condolence released after last night's rail tragedy in Santiago de Compostela. The message starts with prime minister Prime Minister, Mariano Rajo cinveying his shock at the disaster before abruptly switching to Monday's earthquake which killed almost a hundred people. 
  • 12:23
  • 12:25
  • 13:02
    This footage of the Spanish train crash is absolutely terrifying.
  • 13:40
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  • 14:56
    Would you like 50 plates marking the birth of the Royal princess?

    You would?

    They can be yours just for just £3 each.

    What's that you say? It wasn't a girl?

    Oh.
  • 15:27

    Only three countries in the EU have no 4G networks and Ireland is one of them.  Cyprus and Malta. Only Germany, Estonia and Sweden have advanced roll-out of 4G and  the EU in general is lagging badly behind the US, with the situation getting worse. The state of play in the EU 4G market prompted EU Vice-President Neelie Kroes to make some strong remarks in Brussels today.

    "The EU is teetering on the edge of network collapse...This is no way to run an economy," she said this morning. "It doesn't matter where you are - you pay for your mobile device and subscription and it should work...I know millions of Europeans share my frustration."


    4G allows much faster broadband access and is needed for efficient cloud computing, watching videos online, high-definition TV and important new technologies. Only 25% of EU citizens have 4G while in the US the rate is 90%. The EU market is almost 4 times as expensive as the US, with prices varying widely from one country  to another.

     

  • 17:22
    A Pakistani television station is giving childless couples abandoned babies in an attempt to win a ratings war.

    Seriously.